What is an assessment center is the first question that needs to be answered if you have come across these words for the first time. The assessment center definition is a selection process to determine the suitability of an applicant for specific employment, for instance, military, management, etc.
It includes taking of aptitude and personality tests of the whole group via several techniques like examinations, presentations, group interviews, and even psychometric testing.
What is an assessment center?
Employers from big firms rely on developmental assessment centers for selecting and hiring suitable candidates from a large pool. The applicants can be asked to stay from a few hours to a few days depending upon the role or the position they are applying for. The higher the position, the more is the number of tests that the applicant will have to participate in.
An assessment center can be located at an external avenue or internally in the company itself. The organization can also hire a professional assessment center firm to conduct the tests to determine whether the candidate is the right fit or not.+
It is the professional assessors like psychologists, behavior analysts, etc. who are responsible for conducting the tests at assessment centers.
Exercises at the assessment center
In an assessment center, the first thing that happens is briefing the candidates about what the day is going to unfold. Detailed instructions are provided at the onset of every test and all the related queries answered by representatives of the organization or the assessors who are handling the process.
Some of the most common and popular exercises at the assessment centers are as follows-
1. In-basket exercises
The assessors conduct in-basket exercises at the assessment center test to determine the suitability of the candidate and look at their managerial capabilities. In this exercise form, the candidates are given a series of administrative problems, and they have to respond to their best of abilities.
2. Psychometric tests
Every job position has some specific requirements. The function of the psychometric tests is to identify whether the applicants have the required abilities and skills that an organization is looking for. It tries for a perfect fit and thus filters out the right applicant for the advertised job profile.
Psychometric tests can be conducted online or through a standard written paper. It is a test of personality, motivation, and intelligence and assessors often divide it into the following two parts
- Aptitude and ability tests – The aptitude and ability tests are a type of psychometric test that is undertaken to measure the logical reasoning of the applicant. The standard tests include multiple-choice questions in popular areas like mechanical reasoning, spatial reasoning, abstract reasoning, error checking, numerical ability, verbal ability, etc.
- Personality tests – The personality tests are a type of psychometric test that includes questionnaires to reveal the character of an applicant. The purpose of personality tests is to determine the typical reaction of the candidate in various situations, for instance, how does he react in adverse and stressed conditions, his attitude, and mindset and can he gel with other applicants, etc.
3. Group exercises
Another popular exercise at the assessment centers in the group exercises. As the name suggests in a group exercise, a group of six to ten candidates is formed. The assessor asks questions, and the group has to discuss the various ways of answering it.
The performance of all the candidates is assessed on their performance and how they behaved and reacted in the group. The main reason for a group interview is to analyze the persuasive power and leadership qualities of the candidates.
4. Role-play exercises
Role-play is one of the most common forms of exercises at the assessment centers where the emphasis is on evaluating the decision-making skills and prioritization abilities of the candidate. As the name suggests, the candidates have to act out a given scenario.
These are situations that they might encounter in their real-life, and the assessor wants to see how the candidates would deal with it by themselves. During the role-play exercises, the candidates are asked to analyze a specific situation and provide a solution to the issue.
5. Panel interviews
Panel interviews are an integral part of the exercises at the assessment centers. These are just like usual interviews where a maximum of six members are part of a panel that will interview the applicant.
The interviewers can be a part of the HR team or partners from the business entity to determine the suitability of the candidate for a specific position. The panel of experts tries to analyze the capabilities, skills, know-how, experience, and goals of the applicant so that they can know whether he will prove a good fit in the company or not.
6. Presentation exercises
In the assessment centers, the assessors often conduct presentation exercises to analyze the persuasive, presentation, and communication skills of a candidate.
In this type of exercise, the candidate is given a case report and is asked to present his views on it. He also has to take part in a question-answer round after the presentation.
7. Leaderless group discussions
Assessment centers conduct leaderless group discussions where a group is formed without an assigned leader. The participants will have to solve the issue within a specific time frame to show their capabilities in handling a situation without a team leader.
8. Management games
The management games are part of exercises in assessment centers where the participants have to work in tandem to meet the set physical and mental challenges.
Tips to pass an assessment center
Some important tips to pass an assessment center are described below
1. Research the background of the company
If an employee has been selected to take part in the assessment center, then the first thing he should do is know about the company thoroughly. Conduct research to identify the exercises that are performed in the assessment center run by the organization if you are looking for tips to pass the assessment center successfully.
When the applicant is aware of the products and services the organization is dealing with, its goals and objectives, and the direction it is going in, then he can determine the type of assessment center exercises that will occur therein and prepare accordingly.
2. Know about the job profile
It is a fact that when the applicant is aware of the responsibilities of the job position, the objective of the center becomes clear. He can understand the type of skills and know-how the organization is looking for, and thus the type of exercises they will be conducting in the assessment center.
The applicant can then prepare accordingly. This increases his chance of passing the exercises with flying colors
3. Prepare yourself
Think about the type of assessment center exercises that can happen and prepare accordingly. It is best to be prepared so that you can recall them at the time of exercise and stop wasting time thinking things through.
Practice some mock tests so that you can handle the nature of interviews, tests, and exercise that can happen. This will give you an edge over other candidates.
4. Remember your work etiquettes
This is a professional setting, and it is important to be professional at all times. Keep in mind that you are here for a specific purpose, and the assessors are also looking for particular skills and know-how.
Modify yourself accordingly. Remember that work etiquette matter a great deal in the professional setting and does not compromise with it no matter what. Be comfortable in yourself and show your focus and composure.
5. Pay attention to your dressing
Dress to impress as it will help in earning brownie points that will take you a level above the others. Clothes are not a reflection of your skills, but it shows your zeal towards details.
A favorable impression on the assessors is a good thing and will prove an important tip to pass an assessment center.
6. Carry all the required documents
The candidate should be aware of all the documents that he will have to take along in the assessment center. Verify with the authorities beforehand and place every one of them in an organized manner in a folder.
Include stationary, for instance, pen, paper, calculator, and even pencil along with the documents. Carrying all the necessary documents can prove beneficial because you can produce them instantly if required.
7. Reach the assessment center on time
It is essential to be on time as people who arrive late are frowned upon everywhere. Make arrangements beforehand and try to keep at least thirty minutes in hand for any untoward incident.
Reach the assessment center on time if you are looking for tips to pass the assessment center.
8. Find your spot
Once you reach the assessment center, you must find your spot amongst all the other hopefuls. Take the help of the authorities to know about the various processes and procedures you will be a part of.
If you need to submit the documents, do so, and if you need to be at some specific place, then reach it before time.
9. Take the initiative
During group activities and interviews, take the initiative to lead from the front if you are looking for tips to pass an assessment center. Try to guide the proceedings and take along everyone with you, even the weak contestants.
Remember, the assessors are watching every move diligently, and this will reflect your leadership qualities to the full.
10. Ask questions during interviews
During interviews, the assessors prefer that applicants ask questions. Do so as it will show that you have done your research and are fully prepared for the assessment center and the exercises that will be conducted over there.
11. Focus on quality
Keep an eye on the time limit during activities, interviews, meetings, etc. because it is a test to see whether you can meet deadlines. Keep your focus on the quality of your work as the assessors will look at all the aspects, for instance, content, presentation, views expressed, etc. before coming to a viable decision.
12. Pay attention to your body language
Maintain the right body language if you are looking for tips to pass the assessment center successfully. Be positive, polite, and courteous in your approach and keep your smile welcoming. Expressions and gestures matter, so keep an eye on it.
Your pose should be confident and demeanor calm in every situation. Behave with dignity and consideration towards everyone. This will impress the assessors a lot as all the companies are looking for employees who can handle rough times with as much aplomb as the smooth ones.
With time the use of assessment centers is on the rise. The organizations have realized the benefit of various assessment center methods and are utilizing them in several settings like the educational sector, armed forces, government, business settings, safety forces, etc.
They gather relevant information under standardized conditions and choose the most capable of the lot who will prove the best fit.